Republican Marisha Agana, challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan for his congressional seat, compared President Barack Obama to Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong in a Twitter message.
Agana “tweeted” at 10:32 a.m. Sunday: “Beware of people who rose meteorically from nowhere like Obama. His agenda has been carefully planned 4 him!!!”
Four minutes later, she tweeted: “History has a way of repeating itself: Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and now Obama!!!”
Larry Nichols, her campaign manager, said Agana, a Howland pediatrician, said he is “excited she screwed up because it’s bringing out an issue we could [discuss] with Marisha at the forefront. She is very much against abortion.”
The tweets are catching the attention of the national media, including Politico, a political website, and The Washington Post.
Nichols, who has a long history as one of former President Bill Clinton’s most outspoken critics, said Agana was “trying to say if you believe in abortion, you’re in a group of people who believe in genocide. I’m sorry she didn’t get to say her whole thought. She shouldn’t have done it through Twitter. She opened her mouth on Twitter and didn’t say the whole picture.”
In a statement posted on her Facebook account, Agana, who is running for political office for the first time, said, “I’m 100 percent against abortion and I’m excited this issue has come to the forefront of my campaign. I hope all of you understand my position on abortion better now and why I put national leaders that believe in and support abortion into a special group of leaders who have either committed or supported genocide.”
Her statement misspelled Obama’s first and middle names — “Barrack Hussain” rather than Barack Hussein.
After someone tweeted a response to Agana comparing the Democratic president to Stalin, Hitler and Mao, she wrote at 11:02 a.m. Sunday: “the Blood of thousands of unborn children r in his hands.......”
In response to another Twitter user, Agana tweeted at 9:48 a.m. Monday: “I am sorry if I made a poor choice of analogy but I was referring to his pro-abortion stance!”
Wiley Runnestrand, Ryan’s campaign manager, declined to comment on Agana’s tweets.
But Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said, “You can’t fix crazy ... I think they should bring more of these ideas out to Mahoning Valley voters. Her campaign manager is ‘excited.’ Well, there you go.”
Ryan and Agana are running in the new 13th Congressional District, which largely consists of the current 17th, including most of Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
The boundary lines were changed through redistricting and take effect after the November general election.
Abortion was allowed to remain a legal process in some cases after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that came down on the side of a woman’s right to privacy and due process under the 14th Amendment. Obama was elected as a U.S. senator in 2004 and president in 2008.